Chinmayanand rape case: UP student claims "evidence removed" from ashram
UP student, who accused BJP leader Chinmayanand of rape, has claimed that "important evidence has been removed" from his ashram, where the ordeal took place. This allegedly happened before the SIT, probing the case, reached the scene on Friday. Meanwhile, according to a report, the team has recovered some forensic evidence, including a towel and soap. Here are more details.
Last month, the 23-year-old woman, a student at Shahjahanpur's SS Law College, posted an online video, and levelled harassment allegations against a "big leader of saint community". The next day, she went missing, and was later tracked in Rajasthan. Her father lodged a complaint against Chinmayanand, who also happens to be director of the college. Subsequently, Chinmayanand was booked for kidnapping and intimidation.
The SIT, accompanied by a team of forensic experts, brought the woman to the former Union Minister's ashram and carried investigations for around five hours. However, the woman alleged that crucial evidence was missing and the place had a new look. Earlier, she had revealed that she was forced to give Chinamayanand massages, and was often brought to his bedroom at gunpoint.
"The paint and other things have been changed and it now has a new look. Important evidence has been removed from there but two oil bowls, used during massage, were found by the SIT," the woman told PTI.
A day before the said searching at his ashram, Chinmayanand was questioned by the SIT for nearly seven hours on Thursday. The interrogation that started at 6:20 PM, went on till 1 AM on Friday. He was inquired about the woman's allegations of him filming her while taking bath, and using the video to blackmail her. The college's principal and secretary were also quizzed.
On Wednesday, a pen drive containing evidence against Chinmayanand was handed over to the SIT by a friend of the law student. Importantly, the video contained evidence, that the victim collected by installing a camera in her spectacles, in order to expose the 72-year-old leader. However, Chinmayanand's lawyer Om Singh dismissed the video proof. "It's an attempt to defame my client," he had said.
Born to a royal family in Avadh, Chinmayanand was elected to the 13th Lok Sabha from Jaunpur, in 1999. He served as Minister of State (MoS) for Internal Affairs in the third ministry of late PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Only last year, Yogi Adityanath-led government withdrew a 2011 rape case against him. He has ashrams in Shahjahanpur, Hardwar and Rishikesh, and runs five colleges.